ISAIAH 8:23, 9-3 | 1 CORINTHIANS 1:10-13, 17 | MATTHEW 4:12-23
The time had come. John the Baptist, the voice preparing the way for the Messiah, had been arrested. He had publicly denounced Herod for divorcing his wife and marrying his brother’s wife. It would not be long before Herod’s new wife would succeed in having John beheaded. His precursor’s voice silenced, it was time for the Messiah to step out and begin his work.
Jesus left his hometown, Nazareth, and moved to Galilee. Jesus knew what he was doing. Galilee was a densely populated area, and the most fertile area of Palestine. In addition, one of the great trade roads of the Middle East passed through Galilee connecting Syria to Egypt and Africa.
Galilee had a mixed population. Many of the original inhabitants, the Canaanites, still inhabited the area. Many Assyrians remained after they invaded in the 8th century BC. This rich mixture of Gentiles, Jews and foreign visitors passing through on the trade roots, gave Galilee a cosmopolitan flair. Galilee was the one area of Palestine that was in touch with non-Jewish influences and ideas. Galilee was the perfect place for Jesus to begin his preaching. His message was simple; he called for personal repentance, a change in the direction of one’s life. He announced the dawn of a new world, the kingdom of God.
As he walked along the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers casting their nets. These fisherman, Simon and Andrew had probably heard Jesus preaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. His message wasn’t new to them; but today something happened. He called them. He looked right into their eyes. “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” There was something about the call they couldn’t resist. They left their nets! They left their ordinary lives behind. They followed him.
They followed him a short distance when he spotted two other brothers. They were Zebedee’s sons. They were with their father in a boat mending their nets. Jesus called them. They left their father, their boat and their nets. They joined Simon and Andrew. Jesus wasn’t alone any longer. People we beginning to see possibility of the kingdom of God.
Thought for the day.
We, like Simon, Andrew, James and John, know about Jesus’ message. We know about his teaching and his healings. We know about his death and resurrection. Now, are we ready to change the direction of our lives? Are we brave enough to hear and respond to his call? Are we ready to follow him? Do we believe “The kingdom of God is at hand.”